New USA Drama Bemoans ‘Unwashed Masses,’ Bashes Capitalism

USA’s Damnation premiered last week with the completely unoriginal message of how communism is a good idea (spoiler alert: it isn’t). This time around, we only continue the downward spiral of slamming capitalism for a wide audience. As an added bonus, we gain another reminder of how rich people are terrible.

The November 14 episode “Which Side Are You On” continues the communist-like revolution of fake preacher Seth Davenport (Killian Scott) in 1931 as the farm strikers recuperate following the death of a protest leader. However, they continue to face opposition in the form of KKK-splinter group the Black Legion, drifting cowboy Creeley Turner (Logan Marshall-Green) who is willing to kill to break up the strike, and local bankers and industrialists who aim to keep the farmers’ profits low.

This time around, we get a glimpse at how the latter thinks through a scene with industrialist Martin Eggers Hyde (Gabriel Mann) who helped the local banks hire Creeley to break up the strike in the first place. In a brief scene with him, we begin to understand his motivations for cheating the farmers out of their proper wages.



Rumple: Why are we trying to bankrupt these farmers?

Hyde: Rumors to the contrary, we are not actually in a depression. In truth, our species is currently enjoying a great evolutionary leap forward.

Rumple: It is?

Hyde: Well, up till now, it's been a open secret that the unwashed rural masses are a unfortunate necessity for a properly civilized society. We needed the unwashed rural masses to harvest our food, mine our coal, fight our wars. Well, who else is gonna do it? [Laughs] Us? But... Very soon, all the filthy rudimentary tasks we needed the rural masses to perform for us will be accomplished more reliably, effectively, and hygienically, by machines. It's not the 19th century anymore.

He later adds that because the farmers have not evolved with the times, they have essentially “bankrupted themselves.” By that logic, he sees no problem in foreclosing farms and letting the poor dry up in the meantime. We should expect nothing less from what entertainment these days thinks of capitalists. Profit over people. Funny how shows seem to have no qualms about making money promoting that image.

For a show that’s looking to uproot the status quo of capitalism, it also certainly doesn’t think highly of the 99% it hopes to champion. When the people aren’t being screwed over by the banks or industrialists, they’re being fooled by lying charlatans disguised as preachers. If unfettered capitalism paints a bleak picture for the masses, this one is hardly any better. Fortunately, we don’t have to be as dumb as these writers think we are.

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